9 January 2020

Engineer Profile – Introducing John!

Written by Elizabeth Lyon
Following on from the festive season, we caught up with one of our Midlands and North Mobile Engineers, John Williams, to discuss his first two years with Hemlow and find out a little more about his personal life, including his dream job and 2-year-old miniature schnauzer, Ozzy.

In a few sentences briefly describe your career roles to date

I started with Hemlow in May 2017 after working at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham as a maintenance contractor. I worked in the hospital for six years as part of a contracting team. Before this I was self-employed and worked as a contractor for various sites within the Midlands.


What inspired you to pursue a career in engineering?

My dad! He used to be a road sweeper and said that I should become an engineer, so I listened. From then I started as a pipefitter and progressed from there. Engineering runs in the family as my brother is an Electrical Engineer in the Navy.


What is your biggest achievement to date – professionally or personal?

When I was 15 I went to Switzerland with the local boy’s brigade,  we scaled the north face of the Eiger, one of the three great north faces of the Alps. This is definitely my biggest achievement, it is something that I will never forget and would like to do again.


What does a typical day look like for you?

Every day is different, which I love. Every morning I get up and take my dog, Ozzy, for a walk. Once we get back I then head off to site. I work a lot on reactive jobs across the Midlands and Northern region so I go where I am needed. I do heating, plumbing, pipe fitting, remedial works and part replacements. I will also have some PPM scheduled tasks if I am covering for a team member or if additional support is needed.


If you could switch jobs with someone for a day, who would it be? (In or outside of Hemlow)

I would be the Manager of Aston Villa Football Club! I have supported the team my whole life,  and was actually on their books as a junior until I was 17. I played on and off until 19 and became semi-pro at 23 for Alvachurch. I enjoy playing football and still play on Sunday mornings now.


What is the biggest professional challenge you have overcome?

We worked shifts at Queen Elizabeth Hospital. During a nightshift the hospital lost all power and we had to get it back up and running as soon as possible as the hospital was at full capacity. Someone had cut through the main line and the backup generators came on. I was part of a four-man team on site to replace the parts and start all the plant equipment. We managed get the hospital back online within 1.5 hours. I stayed a total of 24 hours that night to make sure everything ran smoothly.


What do you like most about your job?

I enjoy the variety of the work and meeting different people such as clients, subcontractors and new members of the team including management. No two days are the same.


What advice would you give to any new engineers joining Hemlow? Or anyone considering a career in engineering

You should definitely come and work for Hemlow. It is a good company with a great atmosphere due to its small business mentality. People want to do well and there are many opportunities to progress. Also, the rewards programme is very good.


Finally tell us something that you enjoying doing outside of work in your spare time?

I love spending quality time with the family on the weekend with my Wife Trudy, daughter Lauryn and son Bradley. I also enjoy doing exercise, especially walking Ozzy and playing football on a Sunday morning.

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